Tears welled up. My seven-year old just didn’t get it. “But why can’t I play baseball? I feel fine!”
I had just gotten the surprising diagnosis that all four of my children had mono. And “Seven” wasn’t sick at all. He was full of energy and ready to play. But he couldn’t. Due to the risk of a spleen rupture, the mono diagnosis came equipped with a ban on all physical activity for two to four weeks. So, I had the pleasure of looking my three boys in the eyes in the exam room and telling them that they would miss the next four weeks of baseball and lacrosse, umpiring, bike riding, wrestling, trampoline jumping, etc.
Now some kids don’t even like sports (my daughter is one of those…she was actually thrilled to receive her “Get out of gym class free” card), some kids like playing and others loooooove playing. My boys fall into that last category. As soon as the doctor walked out of that room, all three boys had tears in their eyes and the youngest was actually bawling. I felt so bad. I held it together until we were in the van and then I lost it, too. I knew how much they looked forward to each game and my stomach was literally twisting in knots. At first, they thought I was teasing them but once they realized I was really upset for them, they actually calmed down and tried to comfort me! It’s rather funny looking back but it didn’t feel funny at the time.
And now I’ve become the drill sergeant who has to enforce the “No playing, running, biking, doing-anything-remotely-fun-outside” rules. I understand the risks and that’s why I’m not allowing them to do the things they want to do. I know that although the odds are small, if they did rupture their spleen it would mean emergency surgery and a dangerous loss of blood. I’m not willing to risk that so they can play. But I totally get how strange this feels to them. They can’t see their spleen, can’t feel it, can’t touch it. They don’t see the big picture like I do. They just have to trust that I have their best interest at heart, even when it feels like I’m just being mean or overly protective.
I can’t help but wonder how many times I’ve complained to God about something that seemed unfair to me because I just couldn’t see the bigger picture. Trust is tricky. It requires that we let go of our pride and the insistence that we know what is best for our lives. It requires us to relinquish control…something that is very uncomfortable for the control freak inside most of us. And it requires that we actively believe in God’s goodness even if the evidence looks bad.
If my seven-year old just looks at the evidence that he understands, I’m a mean mom. I’m not letting him do anything fun even though he feels just fine. It doesn’t make sense to him. But he knows that I love him and that I want what’s best for him. So he’s obeying me. He’s trusting me even though it makes no sense to him.
I believe that is what God wants from us. He wants us to trust him enough that we will obey him and believe in him even if our circumstances make no sense to our own eyes. Sometimes, we get to a point where we can look back and see why he wanted us to do something that we didn’t understand. But sometimes we don’t ever have that hindsight. Sometimes we never get to see why. We just have to trust anyway. And there is a freedom that comes when we truly let go and trust God’s plans regardless of what we see.
I am learning to rest in that place. I hope you are too!